Abuja judge detains six journalists, deletes phone recordings

High Court, FCT
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Justice Chizoba Orji of the Abuja High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday ordered six Judiciary correspondents to be detained for hours over coverage of her court proceedings.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the journalists were detained for two hours for covering court proceedings without permission.


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It was said that the Judge ordered the court police officer to seize a phone belonging to the Africa Independent Television reporter, Wumi Obabori and delete all the pictures and videos on it.

Subsequently, other journalists, Godwin Tsa of the Sun Newspaper, Ikechukwu Nnochiri of Vanguard Newspaper, Austin Okezie of Raypower FM and a veteran, Charles Ozoemena were walked out of the courtroom.

During court sitting, Justice Orji stood down a matter to prepare the ruling in her chambers and the reporter from AIT attempted to do a video recording, the court female Registrar pounced on the journalist and said she had no right to cover the court.

The reporters explained to the court Registrar that journalists could make recordings while the court is not in session, but the court official summoned the police officer attached to the judge to arrest the reporter.

The policeman, Gusar Dauda, who claimed to have the authority of the judge, locked the door of the courtroom, pulled out his gun and ordered all the journalists to surrender their phones.

Justice Orji re-entered the courtroom and summoned the AIT reporter to step forward.

“Why were you taking pictures and videos in my court? Who gave you the permission to do that?”, Orji asked.

“My lord, I am an accredited judiciary reporter. It is a normal practice for us to take pictures and videos when the court is not sitting, even up to the Supreme Court,” Wumi responded.

“You don’t have such right! If there is such permission, it must be in writing. Who gave you the permission? Show me the authorisation?” Justice Orji asked.

Other journalists in the courtroom stood up and took turns to identify themselves.

“I don’t want to hear from any of you. Now, where is the device you used to take the pictures and videos?” Justice Orji queried the AIT reporter.

Orji ordered that all the pictures and videos on the phone be deleted, and asked the registrar to unlock the court door and walk all the journalists out of the courtroom.

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